Majority Of Republicans Believe Immigrants Make The U.S. 'A Better Place To Live': Poll

Republicans and Democrats in California appear to have found some common ground on the immigration debate, with the majority of voters from both parties agreeing that immigrants make the U.S. "a better place to live."

In a study conducted by the U.C. Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies for The Los Angeles Times, researchers found that at least 60 percent of Republicans agreed with more than 90 percent of Democrats that immigrants make the U.S. a "better place."

'Clear consensus'

"There is a clear consensus among the state's voters that immigrants make the U.S.a better place to live," wrote Mark DiCamillo, the director of Berkeley IGS Poll and Cristina Mora, co-director of the Institute of Governmental Studies in their report published on Wednesday.

"More than eight in ten Californians (82 percent) feel this way, while just 14 percent disagree," they said, citing data from more than 4,527 registered voters polled in an online study between September 13 and 18.

According to their findings, 92 per cent of Democrats said immigrants made the U.S. a better place compared with 6 percent who felt they made it "worse," while 2 percent had "no opinion."

Among Republicans, at least 60 percent said they agreed with the majority of Democrats, while 31 percent said they feel immigrants make the U.S. a worse place and 9 percent said they had no opinion.

Even among Republicans who identified as "very conservative," 51 percent said they believe immigrants benefit the country, compared with 40 percent who disagreed.

Meanwhile, among very liberal voters, 99 percent spoke favorably of immigrants' impact on the U.S.

Greater divide on treatment of immigrants

Asked whether they believe that immigrants are "treated unfairly" in the U.S., the difference in opinion between Republicans and Democrats appeared to widen, with less than 15 percent of the former agreeing with nearly 80 percent of the latter that immigrants receive unfair treatment in the U.S.

Among Democrats, 79 percent said they agreed with the sentiment, compared with 9 percent who disagreed and 12 percent who said they felt neither way or had no opinion.

The majority of Republicans had an opposing view, with 14 percent agreeing that immigrants are treated unfairly in the U.S., compared with 65 percent who disagreed and 21 percent who said they had no opinion.

Asked whether they felt they or a family member could miss out on job opportunities or other benefits due to immigrants' presence in the U.S., the majority of voters polled said they did not have that concern.

"By a nearly three-to-one margin (72 percent to 27 percent,) California voters say it is unlikely that they or another member of their family will miss out on good opportunities in getting a job or promotion, getting into college or getting needed services because an immigrant receives the opportunity instead," the researchers said.

However, they wrote, "the belief that it's likely that they or a family member will miss out on job or other opportunities because an immigrant will receive the opportunity instead is highly correlated with a voter's political views."

Among Democrats, 84 percent felt that it was unlikely that they or their family members would lose job opportunities due to competition from immigrants in the U.S., compared with 15 percent who felt that it was likely.

Among Republicans however, 47 percent said they felt it was unlikely they might miss out "on good opportunities," compared with 52 percent who said they felt it was likely.

So, while there was common ground to be found on whether immigrants make the U.S. a better place to be, the majority of Republicans were still found to believe that they or their loved ones might lose opportunities in their state due to competition from immigrants.

The findings come after three federal courts blocked the Trump administration's controversial "public charge" rule, which would have made it easier for the government to reject green card and visa applications from low-income immigrants.

The Trump administration had sought to justify the policy shift, arguing that low-income immigrants should be able to prove that they will not become a "burden" on U.S. taxpayers.

The court decisions came as yet another blow to the government's efforts to enforce its hardline immigration crackdown, while immigration advocacy groups celebrated it as a victory for immigrants' rights.

Immigration protest
People march and rally on May Day, on May 1, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Numerous May Day, or International Workers Day, marches are taking place in the greater Los Angeles area, and in cities across the nation. A new study has found most Republican and Democrat voters in California agree that immigrants make the U.S. 'a better place to live.' David McNew/Getty
Majority Of Republicans Believe Immigrants Make The U.S. 'A Better Place To Live': Poll | U.S.